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Global Warming Is Here, Human-Caused and Already Harmful: Leaked IPCC Report

August 27, 2014

A leaked draft of a new United Nations report on climate change says global warming has already arrived and is probably already causing harm – and the heating trend could be irreversible, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The news comes from the final draft of a 127-page synthesis report from the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which summarizes the results of its three gigantic documents released over the past year.

The AP notes that there is little in this new report that wasn't already in the lengthier, more detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.

(MORE: 32 Powerful Photos of the World Feeling the Impact of Climate Change)

In the draft of the new report is a harsh warning of what's causing global warming and what it will do to humans and the environment. It also describes what can be done about it.

"Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems," the report says. The final report will be issued after governments and scientists go over the draft line by line in an October conference in Copenhagen.

Depending on circumstances and values, "currently observed impacts might already be considered dangerous," the report says. It mentions extreme weather and rising sea levels, such as heat waves, flooding and droughts.

It even raises, as an earlier report did, the idea that climate change will worsen violent conflicts and refugee problems and could hinder efforts to grow more food. And ocean acidification, which comes from the added carbon absorbed by oceans, will harm marine life, it says.

(MORE: California Drought: Devastating Photos Show Lakes Drying Up)

Without changes in greenhouse gas emissions, "climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century," the report says.

In 2009, countries across the globe set a goal of limiting global warming to about another 2 degrees Fahrenheit above current levels. But the report says that it is looking more likely that the world will shoot past that point. Limiting warming to that much is possible but would require dramatic and immediate cuts in carbon dioxide pollution.

The report says if the world continues to spew greenhouse gases at its accelerating rate, it's likely that by mid-century temperatures will increase by about another 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) compared to temperatures from 1986 to 2005.

And by the end of the century, that scenario will bring temperatures that are about 6.7 degrees warmer (3.7 degrees Celsius).

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